In response to market pressures that are compelling health systems to demonstrate the value of healthcare, innovative care delivery models – such as the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) – have emerged. Concurrently, graduate medical education (GME) programs are rethinking traditional curricula and developing methods to train the next generation of physicians to work within these new models of care delivery. True, this educational transformation began in response to changes in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME’s) requirements; but where some health systems see obligation, others see opportunity. In fact, forward-thinking organizations are integrating PCMH concepts into the clinical training environment to foster evolving medical practices and contemporary curricula by teaching PCMH tools.
For any health system that participates in GME and is engaged in PCMH implementation, the challenge of adapting to new educational models related to patient-centered care can be mitigated by partnership and cooperation. Both the health system and the GME programs will benefit by collaborating, aligning incentives, and engaging in coordinated planning efforts. Doing so may support broader efforts related to accountable care, clinical integration, and the improvement of health outcomes for the community. Furthermore, failure to consider potential alignment opportunities between PCMH concepts and GME may place an organization at risk of having strategies that are divergent or – worse – conflicting. And that’s to say nothing about duplication of effort and increased resource consumption in a time when the focus is on providing high-quality, cost-effective care.
Coordinated planning efforts may also help mitigate implementation challenges by leveraging the GME programs as learning laboratories in an environment that offers flexibility to test, perfect, and facilitate change through teaching. The disruption to physicians and patients often caused by any sizable change – particularly in practices adopting the PCMH model – indicates that the transformation must be thoughtfully planned and implemented. One solution to mitigate this disruption is a proactive approach of change management that occurs during medical education, ensuring that future physicians have the proper skills and the requisite level of engagement needed to sustain and improve upon the model in the future.